They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress. (Psalm 107:27-28)
Written to celebrate the Jews’ return from their exile in Babylon, this psalm offers us many nuggets of wisdom. In our passage for today, we find sailors who had been beaten and battered by the waves of challenge out on the open sea. So serious was the storm that these sailors, who walked the rolling deck of a ship every day, now staggered across the deck like drunken men, seemingly at the mercy of the fury of the storm. And when they had tried to no avail everything they knew to save the ship and all hope was lost—when they found themselves at their wits’ end—they cried out to the Lord and He graciously delivered them.
It’s safe to say that this global pandemic has brought many of us to that place called “wits’ end” for a variety of different reasons. First, we were startled by the suddenness of the storm. This pandemic seemingly blew in out of nowhere, just as storms on the sea often do. Second, we were stunned by the strength of the storm. This pandemic shut down the entire world, something that none of us had never seen. Finally, we were subdued by the significance of the storm. COVID-19 has affected everyone in one way or another. From social distancing to stay-at-home orders to shut-downs, the coronavirus storm winds blew across the entire globe. Governments had no answers. Medical experts had no answers. The entire world arrived at its “wits’ end” all at once and all together.
The question for the Christian will always be, “How will I respond when the storm winds howl and all hope seems lost?” The witness of wits’ end is to know that God is not only in the storm with us, He sent the storm to us. Two verses prior to today’s passage, we read, “For [the Lord] spoke and stirred up a tempest” (Psalm 107:25). God is in complete control of everything that is happening at all times, and He is working all of it for our good and His glory. What we must remember whenever we find ourselves at our wits’ end is that God is working all things in our lives—even the most terrible storms—to grow and mature us in our faith.
I hope you will meditate on and marinate in these words from Peter, which, when rightly understood, will empower us to rise above every wave of challenge that washes over us:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Indeed, those sailors, who had been reeling and staggering and crying out in terror, rejoiced when the glory of God was revealed:
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men. (Psalm 107:29-31)
Let us rejoice together, you and I. Our God is seated on His throne, and His Spirit is working in our lives—in all things and at all times.
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Purpose and Passion,